Waste Management Privatization for a Zero Waste Pakistan
“Cleanliness is half the faith”, is a well-known Hadith. Its dictates affect starts from the person through community leading to environment. Waste handling in our society is the most neglected subject left to a particular class. In Pakistan per capita Municipal Solid Waste produced is upto 0.613 kg increasing @ 2.4% per annum. Encouraging factor in this field are establishment of waste management authorities in Lahore and Rawalpindi which provide not only a comfort feeling to masses but also an outlook of conscious society to global community. However, such projects are nothing more than the pinch of salt in the river.
There is a need to privatize this project at an extensive level throughout the country since this would certainly bring a great fortune to the society in general and to the masses in particular especially the aforementioned downtrodden community which can be assisted by bank loans to run private commercial companies to manage waste of all types in a professional way through advanced technologies, techniques, procedures and means. Such companies shall hire this community and equip them with proper training, uniforms, vehicles, technologies, techniques and means to do the job in a scientific and upright way. This would raise the status of this community both financially as well as culturally. Special vehicles, machinery and tools import may be made custom free for short term and their manufacturing may be promoted inland as a mid and long term plan with due incentives. Such actions would not only speed-up the waste management projects but also allow greater economic activity. Minority’s welfare would be another fruit of such ventures which no democratic government can ignore. It will also provide cleaner environment, attract foreign funding, and improve HDI of Pakistan. No doubt it would also commensurate to the dictates of the widely called-for true Islamic Shariaa’. It could also be coupled with bio-energy projects utilizing waste materials and recycling project thus saving precious foreign exchange being used to import relevant finished goods. Waste disposal issues would get addressed thus leading to a ‘Zero Waste Pakistan’.
Only 30% of waste is collected by all available resources in Pakistan, whereas minimum 75% collection is required to keep the cities relatively clean. The uncollected waste becomes a source of contaminations leading to contagious diseases. According to a study conducted in 1996, 54888 tons of solid waste is produced in Pakistan in a single average day. The average rate of waste generation from any of the municipality controlled area is 0.283 to 0.613 kg/capita/ day (National study on privatization of solid waste management in eight cities of Pakistan, EPMC 1996). Sufficient rules and regulations are present but their implementation needs attention. What I am recommending is to privatize this job, thus converting it into a private business which can take off government’s burden and make the system efficient and praise worthy. The visionary mission of 1996-97 needs to be implemented at ‘Punjab Speed’ if true benefits are to be accrued at multi-level.